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ISM Rafah: Israeli navy continues to harass Gazan fishermen

Gaza City, Gaza Strip, Palestine, 18th September 2008 – On Thursday 18th September, at least 7 Palestinian fishing boats left Gaza City port to trawl in Gazan Territorial waters. The Israeli Navy continued it’s daily attacks and harassments on Palestinian fishermen and their boats.

Today the Navy boat with the water cannon was not seen, so no damage to any fishing boats and nobody was injured from high powered water spray. However, the Israeli soldiers on two Israeli Navy gunboats that were patrolling today were exceptionally aggressive and arrogant. One of the gunboats drove by all of the fishing boats and fired at them,going from boat to boat.

On a second gunboat, the Israeli soldiers were harrassing the fishermen, yelling out to them in Hebrew and in Arabic that it was prohibited for them to fish past six miles. The soldiers on the gunboat were informed that according to internationally recognised agreements, the Palestinian fishermen have the right to fish at least 12 miles out. Their response was laughter.

Later on in the afternoon, this same gunboat was sitting in a very threatening way in the water close to one of the Palestinian fishing boats. One of the soldiers was yelling at the captain of the boat in a derogatory tone of voice and using condescending language telling him to stop fishing and to go back to Gaza.

Almost the entire day the Israeli Navy gunboats harrassed the fishermen, either shooting at them or threatening to.

Every day and night Palestinian fishermen try to fish and every day the Israeli Navy does what it can to prevent them. The eyes of the world needs to watch what is happening. The people of the world need to put an end to this constant harassment and attack on Palestinians trying to earn a living and to feed their families. Palestinian fishermen have the right to fish, at least out to 12 miles, in their own waters.